How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy (t3knomanser) wrote,
How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

The first arrest for virtual mugging: Only in Japan

A Chinese exchange student in Japan was arrested for mugging- in online games. The fact of the matter is that online game items have a fixed supply and an increasing demand, as the number of players in a world grows. Now, the game maker will change the supply to meet demand, but certain items are supposed to be a rarity. Within the context of the game, you can lose those items, but when someone breaks that context, by using bots, like this individual did, they are now causing actual financial harm.

This is going to throw laws for a loop. For example, in a game allow PvP, I could kill another player, loot the corpse, and profit from it- which is perfectly legal. Obviously, the same action in the real world carries much different consequences. So we have to revisit the entire idea of crime in a contextual way- someone playing a thief character, using game features to steal from you, is immune from prosecution, but someone who exploits flaws or hacks the game, is not.

What I find interesting that these things are happening in Asia right now. Murders over in-game theft. Arrests for in-game mugging. What are we going to do when this moves into the US?

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